Introduction of Pastor Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel
Charles Ward "Chuck" Smith, (June 25, 1927 - October 3, 2013), was the senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and the founder of the Calvary Chapelmovement. Beginning with the 25-person Costa Mesa congregation in 1965, Smith's influence now extends to thousands of congregations worldwide, some of which are among thelargest churches in the United States.
Early life and career
Smith was born in Ventura, California to Charles and Maude Smith.
Smith graduated from LIFE Bible College and was ordained as a pastor for the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. In the late 1950s, Smith was the campaign manager and worship director for healing evangelist Paul Cain. After being a pastor for a different denomination, he left his denomination to pastor a non-denominational church plant in Corona, California, and eventually moved to a small pre-existing church called Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California in December 1965.
In March 1968, Smith brought into his home the then-18-year-old pentecostal evangelist Lonnie Frisbee with his wife Connie. Chuck Smith paired him up with John Higgins who already had a Bible study going for youth; they started a Christian commune called "The House of Miracles." John and Lonnie went out into the community to reach its youth with the gospel during the early days of the Jesus movement.
The church in Santa Ana grew and, as of 2006, was attended by 35,000 people and had spawned over 1,000 churches that have branched out as part of the Calvary Chapelfellowship worldwide. Smith has been called "one of the most influential Christian pastors in Southern California" who "is known for training other prominent ministers." Notable ministers who have been mentored by Smith include Skip Heitzig, Mike MacIntosh, and Greg Laurie.
At its beginning, Calvary Chapel operated as a cross-cultural missions organization that bridged the "generation gap" as it existed during the Vietnam War period. Calvary Chapel was a hub of the "Jesus People" phenomenon that existed at that time and was featured in Time Magazine for its success among "hippies" and young people. Calvary Chapel pioneered a less formal and contemporary approach in its worship and public meetings; for example, it did outreaches on the beach, and baptisms in the Pacific Ocean. Much of Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) has its roots in Calvary Chapel worship music. Calvary Chapel's rolling commentary-style of preaching kept the Calvary Chapels close to the text of the Bible and was readily understandable by many hearers. Calvary Chapel developed its own internal training early for multiplication of church leaders and pastors; by pioneering a more informal and contemporary style in its church practices, Calvary Chapel reached large numbers in Costa Mesa, CA and expanded easily by adding many pastors and new congregations in many locations. The impact of Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel on evangelical Christianity is profound, widespread, and largely unheralded. Rather than being a teacher of systems and methods of growing large churches (elements of which frustrated him in his denominational experience), Chuck Smith teaches the Bible at pastors' conferences modeling in word and deed what he feels is the critical core of Calvary Chapels.
A documentary, What God Hath Wrought, produced by Screen Savers Entertainment in collaboration with Smith, tells the story of Smith's life, the Calvary Chapel movement and its influence on modern-day Christianity.
Chuck Smith is the author and co-author of several books; titles of his books include Answers for Today; Calvary Chapel Distinctives; Calvinism, Arminianism & The Word of God;Charisma vs. Charismania; Comfort for Those Who Mourn; Effective Prayer Life; Harvest; Living Water; The Claims of Christ; The Gospel According to Grace; The Philosophy of Ministry of Calvary Chapel; Why Grace Changes Everything; Love: The More Excellent Way; The Final Act; and others.
In April 2012 Smith received the Men of Character Award from the Orange County Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Other MOC award winners for 2012 include Sterling Brennan, Mike Caspino, Richard Heim, Ed Laird, Tim LeVecke, Tom Solazzo, and Mitch Vance.
The Orange County Council believes these individuals are role models for today's youth, but most importantly, exhibit the traits listed in the Scout Law: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent.
Smith's wife, Kay, directed the women's ministry at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa for many years. Smith's four children currently work or have worked in the ministry.
On December 27, 2009, in the early morning hours, Smith suffered a minor stroke in his home and was immediately hospitalized. He recovered and returned to the ministry.
Chuck Smith announced during the New Years Day 2012 service that he had lung cancer. In June 2013, Smith's doctors upgraded his lung cancer from stage three to stage four. Smith died in his sleep around 3:00am on October 3, 2013.